Tag Archives: AU

Finnish minister Sudan mission

Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland Pekka Haavisto will visit Sudan and several countries of the Red Sea and broader region over the course of the next weeks to discuss the situation in Sudan. He has received a mandate from the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini to reach out, on behalf of the European Union, on both the situation in the country and on how the international community can accompany Sudan on its transition path.

During his visits, Minister Haavisto will convey the European Union’s position on Sudan as agreed by the Foreign Affairs Council of 17 June to the different authorities and stakeholders and will then report to the 28 Member States in the Foreign Affairs Council upon his return.

The Minister’s visit to Sudan as well as Ethiopia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates follows the recent announcement of an agreement between the Transitional Military Council and the Forces for Freedom and Change on a civilian-led transition in Sudan.

The European Union remains fully engaged on the situation in Sudan, standing by the Sudanese parties who reached an agreement as well as calling on regional and international actors to play a constructive role in this context. Thanks to his experience in the region, in particular in Sudan with both the EU and the UN, Minister Haavisto will explore how the EU can best support Sudan in its path towards democracy, respect for human rights and stability,” said Federica Mogherini.

“This visit comes at an important juncture; an agreement has been reached between the Transitional Military Council and the Forces for Freedom and Change in Sudan. I wish to sincerely thank the African Union/Ethiopian mediation for their efforts. I will convey EU’s strong messages of support and encourage both sides to continue negotiations in order to solve the still outstanding issues and allow for a swift transfer of power to a civilian government. It is crucial to quickly restore peace, guarantee prosperity, economic recovery, security, democracy and respect of human rights,” said Pekka Haavisto.

On July, 10 Minister Haavisto will be in Addis Abeba meeting Ethiopian authorities as well as the key figures of the African Union. On 11 July, the Minister will meet both the Transitional Military Council and the Forces for Freedom and Change as well as other Sudanese interlocutors. On 16-18 July, Minister Haavisto will visit Egypt, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

Minister Haavisto has extensive knowledge on Sudan having been the EU Special Representative for Sudan and Darfur in 2005-2007 as well as the Special Advisor for the UN Assistant Secretary-General in Darfur Peace Process in 2007.

EU supports AU leadership in Sudan

“Over the past six months the people of Sudan, with the strong participation of women and youth, have clearly and bravely demanded a new path for their country, one of democracy, political plurality, security and prosperity. This represents a historic opportunity for Sudan. A peaceful, united, democratic and prosperous Sudan remains crucial, including for the peace and stability of the region, and is a priority for the European Union” the statement of the EU Foreign Ministers Council reads.

“The EU firmly condemns the violent attacks in Sudan on 3 June 2019, which resulted in the killing and injuring of many peaceful civilian protesters, as well as sexual and gender-based violence. It is clear that the responsibility lies with the Transitional Military Council (TMC) as the authority in charge of protecting the population. All human rights violations and abuses committed must be investigated in an independent and transparent manner, and perpetrators held accountable for their acts.

The EU calls for an immediate cessation of all violence against the Sudanese people, including extrajudicial, arbitrary and summary killings, beatings and sexual and gender-based violence, arrests and disappearances. It is the duty of the TMC to ensure the safety of all in Sudan. Members of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) and other civilians that have been arrested and detained during recent events must be immediately released. Restrictions placed on freedom of assembly, freedom of the media, civic space and access to the internet must also be lifted.

The EU remains deeply concerned by the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Sudan, and remains committed to help addressing the needs of the population. Obstacles to the timely delivery of the humanitarian assistance need to be removed immediately, including in Khartoum. Staff and supplies need to be brought in urgently to provide humanitarian assistance to more than 8 million people in need. Attacks against hospitals, medical staff and patients must stop. Respect of international humanitarian law and protection of civilians must be ensured, including safe and unhindered humanitarian access.

The EU supports the call of the African Union (AU) for the establishment of a civilian-led transitional authority. To that end, the EU calls for the immediate resumption of negotiations between the TMC and the FFC, based on agreements reached so far. The EU also calls on the TMC to implement the required confidence-building measures, on the FFC to respond accordingly, and on both parties to refrain from unilateral moves.

The EU supports the leadership role of the AU and the mediation efforts led by the AU envoy to help to move the political transition process forward, in cooperation with Ethiopia, IGAD Chair. The EU commends the role of Ethiopia in facilitating the resumption of the talks. The EU also commends the decision of the AU’s Peace and Security Council to suspend Sudan from participation in all AU activities until the effective establishment of a civilian-led transition authority, including the announcement that AU punitive measures would be applied if transition to such an authority is obstructed. The EU further calls on other regional and international actors to play a constructive and coordinated role in support of the leadership of the AU on this basis and stands ready to work with international partners in that regard.

The aspirations of the Sudanese people can only be met through an orderly, peaceful, inclusive and civilian-led transition that establishes the conditions for the return to constitutional order and democratic rule through transparent and credible elections, and full respect of human rights. The EU seizes this opportunity to recall the obligation of Sudan to cooperate with the International Criminal Court pursuant to the UNSC Resolution 1593.A civilian-led transitional authority is the only partner with which EU-Sudan relations can be normalised. When Sudan embarks on a transition to civilian rule, the EU looks forward to supporting the country in tackling the social, economic and political challenges and implementing the necessary reforms, and will provide assistance accordingly.”

The Foreign ministers Council today discussed the situation in Sudan and adopted the  statement above.

African Union imposes Sudan power transfer

The African Union (AU) demanded Sudan’s military to hand over power to a civilian-led transitional authority within 60 days.

In a statement, the AU said it noted “with deep regret” that the military had not stepped aside and handed power to civilians within a 15-day period set by the AU last month. The 60 days were a final extension for Sudan’s Transitional Military Council to hand over power to civilians, the AU underlined.

 

EU supports Sudanese demand for civilian leadership

“For months, the people of Sudan have peacefully and with determination called for change” says the statement of the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini on the situation in Sudan.

“As underlined by the Chairperson of African Union Commission in his statement today, a military council does not provide the answers and breaches the principles of the African Union Charter.”

“Only a credible and inclusive political process can meet the aspirations of the Sudanese people and lead to the political and economic reforms the country needs.”

“That can only be achieved through a swift handover to a civilian transitional government.  In that process, all must exercise calm and utmost restraint.”

Image above: Federica Mogherini (archive photo).

African Union Summit opens in Addis Ababa

The leaders of  African states gather for the annual African Union #AU summit which started its activities from February 7.

The refugees and internally displaced persons are in the focus of the Summit taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Nowadays Sub-Saharan Africa hosts more than a quarter of the world’s 25.4 million refugees, the UN agency for refugees UNHCR reports.

However that figure is considered to be a conservative assessment because of ongoing conflicts in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.

According to the United Nations, 85% of the displaced people are located in developing countries, with three African countries – Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia  among the major hosts of refugees in the world.

The activists and campaigners for human rights insist there is an urgency for the African Union to undertake practical measures to address the issue of refugees on the continent.

The #AU will also discuss a standard passport for all African countries. There are expectations that the passports will bring the continent closer to free movement of people alike in the European Union, to promote a viable alternative to current illegal migration.

The AU’s Commission promised to announce the design, production, and issue a model of a passport during the Summit.

However the problem of passports is not limited to its design, or funding. There is no tradition, neither requirement to issue birth certificates in Sub-Saharan Africa, with an exception of some urban agglomerations. The date of birth in the overwhelming number of cases is unknown, which creates a considerable obstacle in identification of  an individual. The case of a notorious Ethiopian “junior” athlete Girmawit Gebrzihair,  causing an international scandal, is a recent example of difficulties the authorities meet, while producing passports for citizens without birth certificate, based only on their affidavit, the method lacking credibility. An alternative for establishing a correct age, can be in use of medical checks with a sophisticated modern equipment, however the are no funds available to engage in such a costly practice.

 

 

EU: “historic moment” of Congo elections

With the holding of elections on December 30, the Democratic Republic of Congo is at a historic moment towards a democratic transition. International and local observers have spoken. The EU joins calls from, among others, the African Union Election Observation Mission and the Chairperson of the AU Commission, to ensure that the results of the proclamation are in line with the vote of the Congolese people” said the European External Action Service (EEAS) spokesperson.

All political actors in the Democratic Republic of Congo have the responsibility to contribute to the success of this transition in a spirit of reconciliation and peace. The EU, for its part, remains ready to support this process in close consultation with its partners, particularly UN and African partners.”

 

 

EU launches €400 million aid programmes for Africa

African Union and European Union Commissioners adopted concrete measures to address pressing global issues in key areas such as peace and security, migration, job creation and agriculture.

This 9th Commission to Commission meeting of the two organisations was co-chaired by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, with the participation of all African Union Commissioners and 16 European Union Commissioners.

The two sides had agreed on a set of priorities at the November 2017 AU-EU Summit in Abidjan and today the two Commissions took stock of progress made to chart the way forward.

“We met today to translate words into concrete action. We launched programmes worth €400 million to support, amongst others, African youth – which is all the more important, as 60% of Africa’s population is under 25 years old, – European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said.  “The future of the world depends on the good cooperation between Europe and Africa”.

African youth

Multilateralism is the only response to today’s global challenges in an increasingly polarised world. The AU-EU partnership is based on shared values and shared responsibilities and offers a unique platform to address common challenges linked to peace, security and sustainable development on both our continents” – African Union Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat added.

The two commissions discussed their cooperation to enhance resilience, peace, security and governance, including support to African peace initiatives such as the G5 Sahel joint force. In this regard, the two sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding reinforcing the existing cooperation in the area of peace and security. In addition, they agreed to continue and consolidate the important work made by the AU-EU-UN task force on migration.

The parties committed to invest in economies and people by stepping up existing cooperation on agriculture and agribusinesses and the digital economy, and dedicated themselves to continue the active engagement with youth in the Africa-EU partnership in innovative and meaningful ways.

In the context of the AU-EU partnership, the EU made available an additional €400 million towards continental and regional projects. These include support to institutional capacity building of the African Union Commission and regional integration on the continent, as well as support to young people. The assistance will facilitate the continental mobility of young people, for example through reinforcing exchange programmes among African universities, and enhancing the recognition of qualifications and the harmonisation of higher education in Africa.

The EU and Africa have progressively built a solid strategic and political partnership, whereby they go beyond donor-recipient relations towards reciprocal commitments. The two Commissions of the European Union and African Union are committed to be active players and real engines of this Partnership, which is today more relevant than ever in a fast evolving global environment.

This partnership is based on shared values and interests, enshrined in the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES, 2007). At the 5th AU-EU Summit last November African and European leaders have demonstrated their mutual commitment in a stronger relationship adapted to a rapidly changing global landscape, and have identified strategic priorities for 2018-2020.

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